Solution 6 has finally raised its iron curtain, appealing to the media last week to help deliver a clear message to the market about its products and what the company does.
Neil Gamble, the ever-present guardian and sole spokesperson since the company embroiled itself in investor's hell some months ago, moved quickly out of the limelight to allow Neville Brooks, managing director of Solution 6's Asia Pacific Group, to do the talking.
Brooks plainly addressed the company's struggle to regroup after the acquisition of 16 separate businesses in a variety of fields between 1997 and 2001.
"There is confusion about what Solution 6 does and therefore what market it owns," said Brooks. "When a customer asks what Solution 6 does it's usually the beginning of a 40-minute story, and at the end they ask, 'yeah, but what does Solution 6 do?'""This means we don't get the recognition in Australia that we are a serious player in the market, with $700 million in revenue."
"But there comes a time when you have to go out with your barrow of wares." And that's exactly what Brooks proceeded to do, launching into a no-frills account of how the company will merge competing businesses and use the strongest brand in any one segment.
The IT services group will comprise Alphawest, Cache, Evolution and Portico; the enterprise software group will consist of Dataline, Emphasys and Exonet; and the professional software group, by far the biggest list, will be made up of Cabs, CMS, Perfect, the original Solution 6, Viztopia and Xlon. Each business unit will keep its existing name, but will adopt the numeral 6 as a suffix.
New Zealand firm Iguana was sold back to its original owners after failing to find a place in the group. It will continue to operate independently, while Solution 6 retains a 20 per cent share.
"For the first time, the new Solution 6 Group will go to market with a distinctive uniform look and feel, and will take a coordinated marketing approach across all businesses," said Gamble.
"The primary objectives of this initiative are to provide clarity for the customer and to maximise the Group's cross-selling opportunities."
A new company logo, fondly referred to as the "racing 6", was unveiled at the re-launch to signify the company's new beginning. However, Brooks acknowledges missed opportunities due to the kerfuffle of recent months, especially in relation to its accounting software and last year's raging sales on the back of the GST and business activity statements (BAS).
"We've arrived at the party when everyone has a hangover," he said. "I would have liked to have this portfolio two years ago, when everyone was updating their financial systems."